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Narrowed control arms

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Stevie Nash, Jul 14, 2009.

  1. Stevie Nash
    Joined: Oct 24, 2007
    Posts: 2,999

    Stevie Nash
    Member

    OK, so I bought my 37 Olds with a 83 Olds Cutlass front clip already in it. It sat pretty high, so I assumed I could lower it with no problems. Well, once lowered I found I had tire clearance issues. I'm about an inch off on each side, but would like to narrow it at least 1 1/2 inches.

    Other than fatman, which is ultra expensive by the way, is there anything interchangable or cheaper than fatman to narrow the control arms?

    Looking at a MII front stub to start over looks like it will be a minumum of $1200. I'm on a budget here... help!!!!
     
  2. Drive Em
    Joined: Aug 25, 2006
    Posts: 1,748

    Drive Em
    Member

    Why not narrow them yourself? I have widened control arms for circle track racing.
     
  3. Stevie Nash
    Joined: Oct 24, 2007
    Posts: 2,999

    Stevie Nash
    Member

    Not sure how I would do that and keep the geometry correct...
     
  4. krooser
    Joined: Jul 25, 2004
    Posts: 4,583

    krooser
    Member

    We used to narrow GM and Ford uppers and lowers to be able to adjust camber and also get the L/S weight in the ballpark.

    Just make a cut, figure out how much you need to remove then reweld and reinforce as needed.

    Please.... no "you can't safely weld steel control arms" posts from the peanut gallery....
     
    Chris Thompson likes this.

  5. Stevie Nash
    Joined: Oct 24, 2007
    Posts: 2,999

    Stevie Nash
    Member

    Any pictures of this process? Can I hope to move them in 1 1/2 inches?
     
  6. phat rat
    Joined: Mar 18, 2001
    Posts: 4,518

    phat rat
    Member

    I've got 75,000 mi on my home narrowed A-arms. Wasn't a certified welder that did them either. But the welder did know what he was doing. I've got a 74 Nova sub under my cpe and the arms are narrowed 1 1/2" per side. Does raise hob with turning radius but only when parking or making a u turn. Not in ordinary driving.
     
  7. Have you converted to metric rotors? I don't have the info here at home. Try a search. Way easier than cutting the A arms, and you won't upset the safety police. You know, the ones that have never welded, yet know what can and can't be done!:rolleyes:
     

  8. I had to laugh at this statement... for you it makes total sense but for someone like me it's quite a misnomer to change the length of the arm and still have correct geometry.

    83 Buick, that's G-body? S-10 being a very close cousin may have spindles and arms that are very similar and a bit narrower.
     
  9. turdytoo
    Joined: May 14, 2007
    Posts: 1,560

    turdytoo
    Member

    I too have shortened control arms for dirt trackin and even to allow correct camber on a low rider street '75 Blazer but 1 1/2 per side is a ton. Like Elpolacko said, NO WAY is the geometry gonna be correct.
     
  10. dave lewis
    Joined: Dec 12, 2006
    Posts: 1,368

    dave lewis
    Member

    The S10 a arms/spindels/ball joints/tie rods/idler arm/pitman arm etc. are the same as the cutlass.
    S10 is narrower thru the front clip,,,
    The only steering/suspension part that is different is the centerlink
    ( cuz the frame is narrower )
    Dave
     
  11. onedge
    Joined: May 25, 2006
    Posts: 1,000

    onedge
    Member

    get yourself 2 sets, and make the cuts exact, cut one long and the other short so they mate back to the length you need (something like that) then they look stock other than the weld seam, and weld then together, when welding be sure it gets done with full understanding those things flex while driving... blah- blah...like others have said it's been done successfully.
     
  12. phat rat
    Joined: Mar 18, 2001
    Posts: 4,518

    phat rat
    Member

    For those who say it can't be done without screwing up the geometry. Explain why the alignment shop had no problem with it on my cpe or why I don't have a problem with tire wear. Simply cut and slice, no. A jig was used keeping things right in all respects and it wasn't a simple straight across cut.
     
    Chris Thompson likes this.
  13. Stevie Nash
    Joined: Oct 24, 2007
    Posts: 2,999

    Stevie Nash
    Member

    Has anyone actually done this? I could spend a lot of time tearing an S-10 apart and end up with nothing...
     

  14. Dude, my sides are splitting from laughing so hard.

    Alignment and Geometry are two entirely different things. I really don't want to get dragged down into explaining this. Let me just keep in as simple of terms as I can: A stock lower control arm has a length of say 14" and therefore travels in an arc creating a radius of 14", you shorten it by one inch. Your effective radius is now an inch smaller. With me so far? You changed the geometry of the arm, both upper and lower control arms are now following different (shorter) arcs and therefore the instant center, roll center, camber curves and induced camber change have changed.

    If you widen or narrow a suspension, move a control arm up or down to clear something, widen or lower control arms, move the rack or other steering mechanism up down in or out, you are altering the geometry of the suspension. Period.

    Without plotting everything out I cannot tell you if this is a negative effect, you're happy with your situation that's just great. But don't give me your hearsay evidence and tell me that altering the suspension doesn't change the geometry.
     
  15. supervert
    Joined: Mar 8, 2009
    Posts: 433

    supervert
    Member

    well said, i have designed my front suspension for my vw rod project and you move any of the pivet points, it changes everything.

    think of it like a rear 4-link setup ( i know most of you know how to do this) if you shorten your links say 10% what does this do to your pinion angle change and anti sqaut.

    if it were me, i would lay it out on paper and figure out what it would take to move the upper arm mount up to try to bring the geometry back close to stock, but it may work for you to just shorten them and leeve it. it will kind of be like the b-body spindle swap, but bump steer will probably have to be addressed.



    jeff



     
  16. onlychevrolets
    Joined: Jan 23, 2006
    Posts: 2,307

    onlychevrolets
    Member


    YUP....you sir are correct. thats why its so tight to fit headers on the V8.
     
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2009
    NAES likes this.
  17. Ned Ludd
    Joined: May 15, 2009
    Posts: 4,230

    Ned Ludd
    Member

  18. bretcopsey
    Joined: Feb 22, 2007
    Posts: 48

    bretcopsey
    Member
    from DAYTON, OH

    Is the clip fully installed, boxed etc? If not, what about narrowing the whole thing by taking your 3" out of the crossmember and steerng linkage?
     
  19. Stevie Nash
    Joined: Oct 24, 2007
    Posts: 2,999

    Stevie Nash
    Member

    It's fully installed...
     
  20. onedge
    Joined: May 25, 2006
    Posts: 1,000

    onedge
    Member

    so what's the plan? you going to narrow s10 parts?
     
  21. chopper99
    Joined: Jan 27, 2006
    Posts: 499

    chopper99
    Member

    You can also used S-10 four wheel drive steel wheels that should take you in about 5/8" on each side, but it does limit your hubcap selection.
     
  22. phat rat
    Joined: Mar 18, 2001
    Posts: 4,518

    phat rat
    Member


    Your right I did engage mouth/hands before brain.
     
  23. Lake City Racing, I think that's right, its a roundy round parts place in Chi Town. You Cutless shares a platform with a Mid-Sized Chebby.

    You can get your A arms in several undersizes, the roundy round guys do it all the time, and stock cars parts are cheap in the whole scheme of things.
     
  24. J Man
    Joined: Dec 11, 2003
    Posts: 4,132

    J Man
    Member
    from Angola, IN

    I would look into narrowing the clip down the middle like suggested earlier or swapping in a completely different one.
     
  25. Stevie Nash
    Joined: Oct 24, 2007
    Posts: 2,999

    Stevie Nash
    Member

    I think the plan is to go to the bone yard with my current control arms to see if they will interchange with s-10 control arms which are narrower. I don't intend to narrow s-10 parts...
     
  26. fms427
    Joined: Nov 17, 2006
    Posts: 864

    fms427
    Member

    "Metric" parts were first used on the 1978 intermediates - same as S-10 and small van. If you indeed have an 83 subframe you will have metric parts. Substituting metric parts only works on earlier subframes.:mad::mad:
     
  27. Gruizer54
    Joined: Apr 23, 2001
    Posts: 84

    Gruizer54
    Member

    yep, i did this on my 54 chevy that we installed a 76 nova front clip on. Just took 3 inches out of the crossmember. I do need to adjust my camber a little bit. but other than that it looks and feels right.
     

  28. No problem, it's just a pet peeve of mine. I fight it with customers quite a bit when they quote certain Mustang II kit manufactures stating that they retain factory geometry when clearly they have altered it.

    :cool:
     
  29. Stevie Nash
    Joined: Oct 24, 2007
    Posts: 2,999

    Stevie Nash
    Member

    Like I said, it's already welding in and boxed. Don't think this is an option...
     
  30. Stevie Nash
    Joined: Oct 24, 2007
    Posts: 2,999

    Stevie Nash
    Member

    Bttt for the night crowd. Wondering if anyone can tell me if s-10 control arms are really "bolt on".
     

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